From the October 2007 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

Advanced Equities Rolls Out NextGen, Hires Gregg

Advanced Equities is making quite a promise to its advisors. "People think we're crazy," says Joel Marks, the company's COO. "But we think it works."

New advisors are expected to increase their books of business by 40 percent in the first two years with the firm -- or be paid the difference. The deal applies to those with $250,000 in yearly fees and commissions, with some wiggle room for those new to the industry.

"Our goal is to offer any advisor who wants to double their production over three years with the tools to do that -- whatever that involves. We are prepared to do whatever it takes to help them."

It announced in August that Keith Gregg, formerly the head of sales and marketing of wealth-manager Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, is First Allied Securities' new president and co-CEO.

Advanced Equities' independent brokerage group includes First Allied Securities with 550-plus advisors, FFP Securities with about 250 advisors and now Advanced Equities Wealth Management.

The private-client group, Advanced Equities Wealth Management, in Chicago, includes about 80 employee advisors with an alternative-asset focus -- i.e., a late-stage venture capital product -- for ultra-high-net-worth clients; this group has new offices set for London and New York. "Major investment firms offer this product to their clients through us, and it's the differentiator for us and the independent brokerage side," says Marks.

"The NextGen platform positions us to grow our business by helping advisors grow their business," explains Marks. The firm rolled out NextGen University at Duke in June, did some parts of it at its August conference in San Diego, received a standing ovation afterwards, and will be back with it at Georgia Tech in October.

The "university" involves three days of training and education that's sponsor-free. It includes wealth management, business development, practice management and more. "We don't charge for it. The advisors' hotel stays and meals are on us," Marks adds. And that represents a cost of about $6,000 per advisor for NextGen. This investment is backed up by a business-strategies group that works with advisors to develop and follow a disciplined business plan.

"We're small enough to do these programs, and large enough to afford them," he explains.

Advanced Equities now includes about 900 advisors. "But we should be pushing 1,000 very shortly," says Marks. "We're having a very robust recruiting year."

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Janet Levaux is the managing editor of Research; reach her at jlevaux@researchmag.com.

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